IBM Designing FAA Security System Based on Advanced Analytics

The IBM is working with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to develop a security system that uses advanced analytics to correlate and analyze data in order to detect and prevent cyber-attacks.

IBM is working with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to develop a prototype security system utilizing advanced analytics to stop cyber-attacks.

The research project will use streaming analytics in an effort to enable the FAA to better correlate and analyze data. According to an IBM statement March 30, the system will "look retrospectively at event occurrences and system compromises ... to correlate historical traffic patterns with data from monitors, sensors and other devices capturing information about network traffic and user activity in real time."

IBM said it also plans to build customizable dashboards that can "deliver up-to-the-second information on the security posture of the FAA networks. These dashboards will give FAA officials visual representations of network workloads, tickets for found malware and historical trends to facilitate decision making and early action in the event of network anomalies suggesting a possible attack."

"Basically, we are getting information overload," FAA spokesperson Paul Takemoto told eWEEK. "We're getting a lot of information ... through our firewalls and wireless detectors and written material from any number of sources including US-CERT and iDefense, and so the challenge is how to meld that together in way that our analysts can use."

The FAA, he said, has about 50,000 employees spread all over the country. The agency has an equally massive mandate covering everything from air traffic control to monitoring airline maintenance inspections.

"It's a challenge to maintain cyber-security through all those different types of uses that we have for our information technology," Takemoto said.

"Cyber-attacks have become a global pandemic and no system is immune," Todd Ramsey, general manager of IBM's federal project, said in a statement. "Through this collaboration with the FAA, as well as others under way in government and the private sector, we hope to develop comprehensive solutions for protecting the digital and physical infrastructures of critical national networks and enterprise systems."